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09 Dec 2022

Five ways to support and retain your working parents and carers in 2023

Supporting working parents and carers is becoming more essential to the employee experience

Five ways to support and retain your working parents and carers in 2023.jpg


It's no surprise that our 2022 Work+Family Snapshot survey shows a leaning towards ‘family first’ following the pandemic, with just over half of its respondents placing a higher priority on this within the last 12 months. This was particularly keenly felt amongst the 18–34 generation, who at the same time also highlighted career as more of a focus than before. 

This article shares the key findings from our early October 2022 webinar with its panel of experts: Lavinia Groves, director, global head of compliance regulatory engagement standards and co-chair of Citi London families matter network at Citi; Leah Gray, UK reward and benefits manager at Marsh McLennan; and Jared Hindle, people & communities (HR) representative at Cisco.

1.    Culture

Marsh McLennan has boosted its maternity and paternity policies to strengthen support for those starting families, including a generous package of 16 weeks’ full pay for fathers or partners. Gray adds: “People might move to a nine-day fortnight, so they're still not really impacting their income too much. If both parents are able to do that, then all of a sudden there's one parent around for a full day each week.”

It's a mindset that is mirrored at Citi. Groves explains that it’s about leadership support and visible buy-in. Citi also places emphasis on flexible working patterns: “Hybrid working arrangements are no longer the exception, they are more the expectation.” While Hindle says that Cisco has established a ‘conscious culture’ in which hybrid and remote are normal, and people are aware of each other’s needs.

2.    Total Rewards/Benefits, with an emphasis on care 

The cost-of-living crisis is biting. Jennifer Liston-Smith, head of thought leadership at Bright Horizons, explains that many employers are giving targeted pay increases or one-off payments while offering money-saving discounts and enabling advanced access to wages or loans.

As one aspect of family finances, childcare and eldercare concerns are top of many people’s minds when they are looking for a new job, according to our Modern Families Index 2022

“It was really striking in the survey that this concern was highest for younger workers, with 93% of those in the 18–34 bracket with caring responsibilities saying they would be concerned about adult or eldercare arrangements before accepting a new job or promotion.” As Liston-Smith says, this dispels any assumptions about which generations are more focused upon these issues.

3.    Allies

Parents and carers gain great encouragement, support and practical tips from exchanging their experience with others. Citi has affinity networks including the London Families Matter network with visible senior sponsorship. This is part of several networks and communities. There are menopause champions, that are not all female, as well as a menopause clinic. An annual toy and book drive gives back to the community.

Marsh McLennan offers group coaching pre- and post-leave and a dads/partners’ session. Gray says: “It's important to help people with planning their professional and family lives, among peers from the same work culture.” Cisco’s Hindle adds that it’s important that leaders make themselves available to have the right conversations when they are needed.

4.    Educational & developmental support

Many working parents continue to pick up the pieces of the home-schooling aftermath. We find that parents are increasingly turning to their employers for help in educational catch-up. A recent study of Millennials and Gen Z by the US Bright Horizons team, shows a high concern (76%) about their child’s social and emotional development. Responding to these concerns, Bright Horizons put in place a new facet of its Back-Up Care with virtual tutoring sessions for four to sixteen-year-olds.

Marsh McLennan is one such employer that offers this service to its working families. Gray says the tutoring, as well as educational support, also provides another important hour’s childcare. It’s a further creative approach that is being welcomed and highlights them as a family-friendly employer. Cisco is also demonstrating just how far it is listening to its working parents and understanding the ambitions they have for their children. 

5.    Being agile & flexible

In today’s demanding world it’s not surprising that our fifth way employers can support and retain their working parents and carers is by being flexible. That is also very much about listening to what workers want and understanding how to meet their needs. Citi has facilitated this by listening closely to the voice of the employee and taking regularly pulse surveys, including identifying the needs of those with caring responsibilities. 

In partnership with Bright Horizons Work+Family Solutions

Bright Horizons is dedicated to providing the best in class work+family solutions.

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Webinar: evolving financial wellbeing

  • Money trends that are changing strategies
  • Why flexibility is key to meet shifting employee needs

Wed 22 March | 10-11am

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